John Aubrey's 'Monumenta Britannica'

Scope and Content

'Monumenta Britannica' by John Aubrey, in four parts, chiefly written in about 1665-93, with notes added by John Evelyn and Dr Thomas Gale. These volumes contain a large amount of curious observations and original work, and are of considerable value from the numerous illustrations and the first-hand information relating to British antiquities.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Aubrey (1626-1697) was an antiquary. He matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, 1642, and was a Student at the Middle Temple, London, 1646. He brought to light megalithic remains at Avebury in 1649. He formed large topographical collections in Wiltshire and Surrey, and left in manuscript much antiquarian and historical material. Further details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

Greville sold the manuscripts to the Bodleian for 50 in 1836.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. V, nos. 28426-7.

Custodial History

At Aubrey's death in 1697 these manuscripts were in the possession of Awnsham Churchill, a London bookseller, and in 1755 and 1780 owned by a nephew of the same names, and in 1817 by William Churchill a son of the last-named, from whom they passed to a cousin, Col. Sir Charles Greville.

Related Material

See also Aubrey Manuscripts (MSS. Aubrey 1-13, 16-17, 19-21, 23-6, 31).